The Goddess Path  Issue #29

Rhiannon:  Goddess, Bride, and Mother

May, 2005

This Issue: Table of Contents

Rhiannon and Mothers Everywhere
Doing It My Way
The Runaway Bride and the Sacred Wedding
'Create-A-Goddess' Contest
One Lesson from the Myths of the Goddess Rhiannon

Rhiannon and Mothers Everywhere

We're devoting this issue to the Welsh goddess Rhiannon, faery princess, runaway bride. Later she became a bride, wife, mother, divorcee and, eventually, queen.


Since today is Mother's Day, and in honor of Rhiannon's longsuffering experience as a mother, I'd like to wish each of you a Happy Mother's Day and share this wonderful piece that is circulating on the web. (As is often the case, no author was identified. I haven't been able to track the information down, but will share it with you when I do.)


This is for the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here."

Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who DON'T.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.

And for all the mothers who froze their buns on metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead of watching from the warmth of their cars.

And that when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair when they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers and grandmothers who wanted to, but just couldn't find the words.

This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat.

For all the mothers who read "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then read it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college ~or have their own families.

This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them.

For all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.

For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting.

For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?

Or is it in her heart?

Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. when you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home?

Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation...

And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers and married mothers.
Mothers with money, mothers without.
This is for you all. For all of us...

Hang in there. In the end we can only do the best we can. Tell them every day that we love them. And pray and never stop being a mom..

Please pass this along to all the Moms in your life.

"Home is what catches you when you fall - and we all fall."

Please pass this to a wonderful mother you know.

(I just did!)


Doing It My Way


Several days ago I got an email from a disgruntled reader that chided me for basing the story of Rhiannon that we tell at the website on one of the lesser known variations of her myths rather than the more widely known (dare I say 'officially sanctioned') version. I had chosen the version I did because it spoke to me more eloquently of the psychological 'binds' that modern women confront in their lives and especially in their marriages.


OK, it was a retelling of my favorite version and it was my website, but last time I looked the First Amendment was still in place, giving me the right to speak my mind and do it MY way!


It is possible that I might have missed the news if indeed the First Amendment had been repealed. For weeks now the media has been focused almost entirely on the goings on of Michael Jackson and the story of ...


The Runaway Bride


Although we don't yet know the full story behind why Jennifer Willbanks became a runaway bride, obviously she was not having fun planning her wedding.


While it is an extreme -- and extremely sad -- example, this story shines a light on the fact that many brides, unfortunately, are taking the "stress express" down the aisle.  (Running away from the prospect of marriage is hardly a recent phenomenon. The myths of the Goddess Rhiannon recount her experience as a runaway bride. I'll tell you about her later in the newsletter.)


Planning a wedding really is meant to be a joyous and sacred time in a woman's life ... yet so many brides find it can also be a very overwhelming and filled with worries, large and small.


What has snatched the sense of sacredness from preparing for the wedding day? And how can we bring the joy and spirit back to the wedding experience?


Wedding planning can be a crisis for any woman heading to the altar -- even those who are ordinarily calm, open-hearted and level-headed. Rev. Brockway shows brides-to-be how to transcend the emotional frenzy and take charge of this most sacred time of their lives in her book WEDDING GODDESS: A Divine Guide To Transforming Wedding Stress to Wedding Bliss, which debuted last week.


It is an excellent source of guidance about how brides, families and our society can reduce the drama and trauma associated often associated with planning a wedding today. (Needless to say, her advice applies equally well to other areas of stress that appear in all our lives, even if we're not running away or toward the wedded state!)


Read 'Expressing Your Love in a Sacred Wedding Ceremony, an excerpt from the latest book by the author of 'A Goddess is a Girl's Best Friend':


Wedding Goddess 

The Winners of the Create-A-Goddess competition . . .

are going to be announced in next month's edition of the newsletter. Competition was fierce and there were lots of delightful entries. Now it's in the hands of the god

So plan on enjoying next month's issue. Thanks for your entries. Good luck to all of you who put a name to the goddesses we meet in the checkout lines, at work, and everywhere else we spend our time!!

As always, here's the link if you want to read our monthly progress report: Blog

The Goddess Rhiannon, A Runaway Bride

The Goddess Rhiannon ran away not once, but twice--once from an arranged marriage and once from a suitor who was moving a bit too fast for her liking. You can read her story here:


The beautiful, carefree and innocent young woman who is betrothed, without her consent, to an older, wealthier (and usually generally repugnant) man to insure the social standing of her family is a common motif in literature and folk tales.

The loveless marriage between such opposites holds few surprises for us, but what of the other extreme--the heady, teasing passion of two people who are quite unlike? How does this couple fare?

'The seeds of the destruction of a marriage lie in what originally attracted the partners to each other in the very beginning', or so it is said in one of the major theories of marriage counseling. And I have often found this to be true..

Take, for example, a couple I know hose marriage, like Rhiannon's began to floundering following the birth of their first child. What had attracted them to each other in the first place, they laughingly admitted, was that each enjoyed the other's playful spirit and their childlike qualities. They met at 'Toys 'R Us', discovering that they both enjoyed the same off-beat toys.

Paralleling the story of Rhiannon and Pwyll, this couple's relationship would tragically change with the arrival of their firstborn. The sad truth of it was that one of them grew up and the other stayed behind, missing his playmate and the carefree times they'd shared before.

Not all marriages can be salvaged. This one wasn't.

Like Rhiannon, her life had been turned upside down and she now shouldered a heavy weight on her shoulders. It was the weight of single parenthood and the poverty it often carries with it. But, like Rhiannon, she carried that weight with nobility and dignity.

She was inspired and comforted during the hard and lonely times by the story of the goddess. Yesterday she graduated from the university with highest honors, her future shining brightly once again.

This is the power of the myths--to give us a mirror in which we can see more clearly the precious powers within our selves. The power to help us accept, and even value, the parts of our lives that would shame us . . . parts we would otherwise prefer to keep at a distance or even disown. To remind us that it is all part of the human condition, that it's all happened before, someone's problems were even worse than ours and they survived. To help us know that we are not alone.

In closing, a reminder to . . .

Look in the mirror every morning.
Pinch your cheek and say,
"God, Sharon, you are gorgeous and you make the world a better place just by being in it!"

Note: you should use your own name in that affirmation, but feel free to use mine if you'd rather. I just love imagining powerful women all over the world saying it that way!

Till next month,

The Goddess Path

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